The Scope of Psychoanalysis, 1921-1961: Selected Papers

By Franz Alexander | Go to book overview

Dreams in Pairs or Series
1925

It very often happens that two or more dreams in the same night stand in some sort of relation to one another. In the Traumdeutung Freud speaks of the way in which successive dreams which all contain the same latent content grow progressively clearer. Often, however, the relation between pairs of dreams is still closer: not only is the content connected but there is also a dynamic or, more correctly, an economic connection. A certain dynamic relation between pairs or series of dreams which express the same wish is nearly always present. The following is the simplest type of a relation of this sort. The first dream may, for instance, express the incest wish, the sexual act being disguised symbolically. For example: "I am driving in a carriage with my mother." In the second dream the act is disguised less, or not at all, but the incestuous object is replaced by a harmless one. The two dreams are then complementary to one another and permit, as it were, a complete gratification of the wish in two stages, by which it escapes the notice of the censor. The obvious economic gain for the repressed tendency is that through dividing the gratification into two stages a fuller satisfaction is rendered possible, though the economic work of the censor remains the same. Both the symbolically disguised sexual intercourse with an incestuous object and the manifest sexual act with an indifferent person are, if taken alone, capable of entering consciousness; they express the real wish, however, only incompletely. But taken in connection with each other, the second dream having reference to the first, they constitute a complete representation of the repressed tendency. If we look out for it, we come across this mode of representation so frequently that it is superfluous to give examples.

There is another more interesting and more complicated mecha-

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This article was originally published in German; the English translation was not done by the author.

-31-

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